In the modern era of commerce, there seems to exist an almost triangular chain of functioning. A brand invents and implements its well-planned marketing strategy which then generates a response from consumers. As a result, it benefits the company with increased sales. This is the usual triangular relationship. However, in recent years, the world of marketing has been revolutionised with a new type of content. This is how we have restructured the old triangular relation that always ceased to exist. This new type of content is called user-generated content (UGC).
Revolutionising marketing with user-generated content
In marketing, it refers to the content that is related to a brand but created by someone who is not officially working for the brand. User-generated content can take multiple forms like a review, a video, a social media update among many others. In simpler words, if it involves a brand and no employees or affiliates have contributed in its creation then it falls under this new type of content. This process puts a customer on the centre stage with the limelight on them. In this way, the triangular chain transforms into one where the customer is in the middle and focus of the entire process.
A brand produces its products or makes its service available to consumers. In the next step, these consumers market the product. This becomes a trustworthy marketing effort to attract potential customers. Consequently, it benefits a brand in terms of increase in sales and business.
A familiar example for this marketing is Coca Cola’s famous ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The idea of adding names on bottles attracted a lot of consumers. However, the company employed an effective strategy to keep the momentum going.
Customers asked to share pictures of themselves with their personalised coke bottles on social media became a core strategy. As a result, customers became marketers.
But most importantly, it generated millions of revenue and presented a fresh image. This is why the particular campaign is regarded as one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time.
Principle of social proof
The main success factor of user-generated content is rooted in a psychological principle called ‘social proof’. According to this principle, people make decisions based on the behaviour of other people. A consumer will be more attracted to buy from a company when others are enjoying their products or services. This is because new customers lack experience. Additionally, consumers trust their fellow consumers more than the company.
Today marketers need to understand that customers are no longer passive who can be easily influenced by billboards or TV commercials. People today do thorough online research before making a purchasing decision. A single bad review can severely impact the image of a company and hence influence the customer’s final decision. Authenticity is important in the online world. Customers will choose brands that understand them and value their experience. Subsequently, user-generated content becomes the best strategy in this context.
Consumers making content forms the basis of UGC. In most cases, this is unpaid though consumers have multiple reasons to participate in content creation. It can be sharing their experience of meeting similar people or winning a prize. Even if a prize is announced, the total cost of marketing will be more. In short, consumers practically run the campaign while the company can incur benefit from allotting a less budget to marketing.
High return on investment
User-generated content needs to be credited for one of the chief benefits that it provides, that is, high return on investment. A company needs to design and plan a UGC campaign. Consumers then implement the remaining marketing process.
Forming communities with user-generated content
User-generated content can form as a tool to unite audiences. In the usual marketing approach, the company and customers remain separate entities. Brands remain burdened to constantly make efforts to attract consumers. However, UGC solves these problems.
When consumers produce UGC, they come together and approve the brand. According to McMillan and Chavis’s theory called ‘Sense of Community’, four things encourage a community like feeling. Two of them are: influence and shared emotional connection.
With UGC, people feel like they have influence on decisions. Additionally, all the people who promote a brand share a common interest and emotion towards that particular product or service. This forms a community instead of a commercial brand. Hence, increasing brand loyalty and attracting potential customers.
Most Successful UGC Campaigns
The American content platform and production company includes creating buzz around the new releases as a crucial part of its social media strategy. Netflix promotes posts of fans with hashtags to promote the upcoming content. This introduces people to new content that is much talked about by their fellow audience members. Additionally, people get curious to watch such popular content.
In 2017, Stranger Things Season 2 earned popularity because nearly 1 million posts generated on Instagram with its hashtag. In addition to this, it also became the “most-Tweeted about streaming series”.
This type of marketing helps Netflix to engage, attract and build a loyal community of Netflix users.
The software company is one of the best examples for carrying a UGC campaign. The hashtag #AdobePerspective allows artists and content creators who use Adobe Suite to share their content and source work for free from users.
Adobe has the advantage of presenting the capabilities of its software. Additionally, it creates an engaging community. This is especially helpful to new users to understand the software.
Plan for the future
With the increasing competition in the market, the pressure to find creative ways to market products has also increased. In this case, user-generated content can be a good strategy to include in your plan.
Other than this, the best way to appeal to masses is to improve your brand image. This can be done by showing your active participation in the welfare of the customers. In short, purpose-driven marketing can be a way to show that you care and are beyond just a brand.
Contact us at Shaktiki today to create an impactful marketing strategy for your brand.